Wed, 17 February 2016
The Celtics are H-O-T hot. Brad Steven's crew is on a 10-2 run leading up to the All-Star break, and have a feel of the “it” team right now. With thrilling wins over psuedo-rival Lebron James and his top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers, and the four seed in the west Clippers, the green team has created a buzz around it not seen in a few years. And I'm not just talking locally either - the Cs are making noise and being heard around the league.
The problem is the Celtics don't have a superstar. And in the star-driven NBA, in order for them to win and beat quality opponents, they have to play good team basketball, and play it with grit, determination and resilience. That's the kind of ball we love in Boston. We will give a team a lot of slack on wins and losses if they are busting their asses and giving a real effort every game. Yet, its been a long time since any NBA team won it all without a superstar, or two, or three. So if the Cs are ever going to be more than a gritty pretender, they need to do some wheeling and dealing, and do it by noon tomorrow the 18th. Fortunately, trader Danny Ainge is, as usual, very active in the talks. He didn't get the nickname trader Danny by accident. A new name is attached to trade rumors every day; Dwight Howard (no, please no), James Harden, Kevin Love (yes), Blake Griffin, Al Horford, Boogie Cousins . . . perhaps a combination of some such. I'm betting something gets done, too much noise and too many possibilities.
However, Celtics ownership has come out and low-keyed things, professing no urgency to get a deal done or bring in a big man superstar to get them to the next level. I call BS on that. When does a professional sports franchise front office ever tell the truth to the media around the trade deadline? Yeah, never. And to his credit, trader Danny is an accomplished, experienced fibber in this arena. I think we will see a blockbuster trade this week that at least significantly if not drastically improves the team.
I'm officially getting stoked on the Cs. Imagine: Ainge gets Love, he fits in here like the missing link, Thomas and Love light it up, we get to Game 7 in the East finals against the Cavs . . . Would that not be a blast? Boston would be bathed in green in May and June, and not because it's springtime.
Which brings me around to my admission of being a C's band-wagon rider. I keep an eye on them always, but I make no disguise of my diminished love of the NBA game and the Celtics. There was a time when I was a steady, regular fan. I loved the Big Three in the 80's, just as I was becoming a young sports fan. That impressionable time in one's life when you legit LOVE your local sports team, go ga-ga over them. Your emotions swing with their highs and lows. And when Magic drops a last-second baby hook runner to tear your heart out, it feels like the end of the world. That's what the Celtics meant to me thirty years ago. The Reggie Lewis years and the Walker-Pierce run of 2003-04 were fun, but by then the game had changed and the NBA had sunk to a distant 4th in my sports priorities.
The new Big Three run with Garnett, Pierce and Allen was awesome; I was back on the wagon then. It didn't last long though did it? I'm not alone in thinking we got gypped out of at least that 2nd championship, and a few more years of high-level play. The new Big Three got old quickly. Ask the Brooklyn Nets about that.
Besides rooting for the Celtics being at times difficult, the game itself is not as entertaining. It has become one in which a team must have a superstar or two to compete for a championship. There is no parity. There is no sense that on any given Sunday . . . And the games themselves are dominated by hero ball, ticky-tack fouls, superstar favoritism, and long-stretches of irrelevant play. Too often only the last several minutes are important in deciding the outcome. The first 3 quarters are frequently meaningless and unentertaining.
Even with all that working against it, I can be sucked back in quite easily. Just give me a dynamic, exciting team and some hope for the games to mean something in the Spring and I'm in. So bring in Kevin Love, give Cleveland or New York a Brooklyn pick. Leverage the assets we have for a big-time player. Let's get this team deep into the playoffs. We already have a piece to build with, IT, our All-Star. Give him a playmate or two and see if coach Stevens can get this team to game 7 or beyond. Boston will be a green town once again, and I'm on board.
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34am EDT